And today my countdown clock now shows only 1000 days till my FIRE date. The date I’ve pencilled in for giving up work, is only 1000 days away. Wow, this is big.
You know what? I can’t quite believe that I am writing this post. And I’m pinching myself to check it is true, while grinning a little on the outside. While a countdown result of 1000 days may be a long time to some to some, to the mad planner in me it seems a bit too short. There is so much I need to accomplish in this time, before I am really ready to say hello to freedom and goodbye to having to work. And so much I need to do in London before I leave, hell so much in europe I need to see as well.
FAO Internet Retirement Police
So I use the word retire, and plan to stop working in 1000 days. I don’t preclude the possibility of working again in the future. I’m wanting to take a long break and travel, and then, my future is open. This may include work. I quite fancy trying out a trendy start up. Or doing a different sort of work altogether. Or pursuing my interests in some way that generates income. What I can say is from them I will not have to take any job. Any future jobs would be passion projects.
How did I get here?
So yes, it’s a brave place to be have a date I mind and publically announce it. This is a plan that has been percolating for around 3 years now. I feel as the days go by, the plan is more and more realistic. I consume loads of FIRE articles, and understand my finances more and more as the days roll by. And I’ve secretly had the FIRE countdown clock (electronic version natch) for over a year. And started this blog a few months ago to document this process.
Back up Plan?
What will you do if the market crashes? And the market keeps crashing to null? Or you get ill? Or the zombies come? I don’t deny sequence of returns risk is a bit of a concern, however I think I have enough padding to cover me. Ironically I can’t deny that a crash may help me now, when I am still working. That way my I can still invest loads in the falling market, and hopefully it recovered by my FIRE date, or I can then re-adjust the plan as necessary. I can confident that I can weather any challenges. As I mentioned above, I am happy to go back to work if need-be, and I’m more than happy to cut back on expenses as well. An illness and health is not such an issue as I am UK based (thank god for the NHS).
Although I’m only spending around £20k a year at the moment, my FIRE fund will be £750k, supporting an income of £30k via the 4% rule. Yes I know loads of people have done lots of research and now propose a lower value of 3%, 3.5% etc, and some people now advocate that 5% is possible. But I will not be swayed. Analysis paralysis does not get us anywhere, and you can always manipulate the data to align with your perspective. Fundamentally I believe past performance is not indicative of future returns. So none of us can predict the future. But what we can do, is be comfortable with our finances, and have thought out plans if things don’t go as well as expected. There are only two certain things in life. And I am to avoid the first for as long as possible, and legally reduce my exposure to the second.
What do I tell people?
I tell everyone that I’m planning to celebrate my mid-life crisis at 40 with a sabbatical to travel. And I’m saving up to take a few years off. Most people buy this, and I think telling the full truth may be a bit too much for people to handle. Although my Dad joked that I was retiring at 40. I think he might have guessed. But with friends and colleagues, I think it’s necessary to play it down, and keep the sabbatical story straight. Who know I might miss work so desperately I could be begging anyone to give me a job in a few years.
So what are my plans?
My first and main plan for my freedom is to travel. This plan has remained constant for the last 3 years, so it seems to be sticking. And I even splashed out and get a large passport when renewing it in anticipation. Now that’s a sunk cost, might as well get the benefit..
And where will I be travelling?
I have a route planned already, in my mind the planning is as much fun as physically going on the holiday. At the moment I’m thinking of spending as long as I can visa wise in Russia. As I’ve never been there is tons to explore, the grandeur and splendor of St Petersburg is calling me. I’m also a Chekhov and Tolstoy fan, and would love to see their inspiration first hand. Additionally ticking off a bucket list item and doing the Trans Siberian into Beijing. I love train journeys, and this one seems spectacular.
Next up is China, again staying as long as I can, maybe even studying Chinese for a while. I’ve been learning Mandarin, and whislt my level is still basic, I’m hoping to up my game in 1000 days. The middle kingdom is such a large country by land area as well as population wise, and there are so many places I want to explore there.
Then I’m wanting to do the South Eastern Asia route, and eventually work my way down to Australia. And visiting as many countries as I can along the way, in an epic overland route. Following this I want to go to New zealand, then over to Chile and slowly work my way up South America. Epic plans are something I’m not short of, and I secretly have great time day-dreaming about them, and how many possibilites are open to me.
One main item still up in the air
To rent out or sell my house? I was originally planning to rent it out, on the belief that London property always appreciated, but now I am not so sure in this post Brexit world. And as much as I love the house, I don’t have that strong a connection to it, and may prefer another area of London if I come back. Hence I am moving towards the idea of selling up.
Over to you
- Do you keep a countdown?
- Should I sell or rent out my house?
- Are you also a planner?